On Wednesday evening, a Marine Corps spokesmen announced that Sgt. Gary Stein, the Marine who insulted and criticized President Barack Obama on his Facebook page, would have an other-than-honorable discharge for his comments, according to CNN.
Stein’s disrespectful comments were found to be in violation of the Marine’s code of behavior, which limits political conduct. In March, the military board came to its decision and made the recommendation to discharge Stein.
An other-than-honorable discharge is given to a Marine who commits a “serious offense” that significantly differs from conduct expected of a Marine, the Corps said.
Calling his Facebook page the “Armed Forces Tea Party,” Stein stated that he would not follow the President’s orders and put the commander-in-chief’s face on a “Jackass” movie poster. He also espoused the teachings of Birther fanatics, demanding in a March 4th posting to see President Obama‘s birth certificate. Earlier in the year, he called the President a “liar” and “the ‘Domestic Enemy’ our oath speaks about.”
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The government took screen shots of Stein’s Facebook page and submitted them to the board, who felt that Stein’s behavior was unprofessional and biased.
Soon after, Stein was stripped of his security clearance, removed from his post at the Marine Corps Recruiting Depot in San Diego, and given a desk job with no access to a computer.
In his defense, Stein attempted in vain to invoke his First Amendment rights to free speech. Stein’s defense swiftly buckled, though, since military personnel in uniform have limited free speech. The Associated Press reports:
The military has had a policy since the Civil War limiting the free speech of service members, including criticism of the commander in chief.
Pentagon directives say military personnel in uniform cannot sponsor a political club; participate in any TV or radio program or group discussion that advocates for or against a political party, candidate or cause; or speak at any event promoting a political movement. Commissioned officers also may not use contemptuous words against senior officials.
In response to his discharge, Stein released this statement on his Facebook page:
I have spent the last 9 years honorably serving this great nation and the Corps,” Stein wrote on his personal Facebook page. “Even though I will be discharged no one can take the title of Marine away from me. I thank my family and friends for their support and love. Today is just the start of the rest of my life. Semper Fi.
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